20 Oct

Personal testing with the DJI Ronin three-axis-gimbal

Just picked up the DJI Ronin 3-Axis-Gimbal and I thought I’d share some thoughts. The guys from Olympia Film Collective and I spent this afternoon running through some paces with both the Canon C100 and a Black Magic Cinema Camera. I’ve already run a few tests with my own Canon 5D Mark II.

My initial balance with the lighter DSLR was tougher than I expected – the light weight of the camera and the stiffness of the roll mechanism made it difficult to find a point at which the software agreed the camera was actually in balance. I could move it several millimeters in either direction and the camera would hold it’s roll position – then running the auto calibration would tell me to re-balance. I realized the trick is to check the ‘view’ in the software and see which axis was most off the center line as it monitors the motors – which told me the roll was the issue, then make micro-adjustments each direction until I was able to correct.

The C100 was much easier to balance but we weren’t able to mount it with the side-handle which is a real issue since you can’t control the camera without it. I’ve been looking for someone who has successfully mounted this camera with the handle on but no luck. The DJI site claims it supports the C100 but without the handle attached -it’s not a functional camera.

Clearly a handle-bar mounted monitor is required to operate.

Clearly a handle-bar mounted monitor is required to operate.

Riley in standard mode

Riley in standard mode


The trick to switching to Briefcase (Quick YouTube video) mode is:

  1. Make sure it is enabled on the controller app
  2. Rotate the handlebars back towards your body
  3. When the top handle is closest to your body, rotate the handlebars clockwise
  4. Reverse this operation to return to normal mode.

As you test this, have some with the kill switch handy! Do wish there was a physical motor kill switch on board to save battery and quickly cut the power to the motors without shutting down.

UPDATE: I found this short promo video from a company called Skyeye that shows the C100 mounted on the Ronin under a DJI s1000 octocopter, so it does appear possible.  I also read on a post that the latest firmware allows C100 camera control from the back camera controls without the handle.